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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

5 Reasons You Should Do Sales Coaching

Posted on Mon, Aug 18, 2014

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Sales coaching by a coach who is an expert at selling, not coaching is the cure to many sales woes, and can make many more people successful. It is worth with the investment with a huge ROI. Imagine a $1,000 - $3,000 investment returning $1,000,000 in revenue and $250,000 profit. I personally have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and it never would have happened without my sales coach.*

I offer my advice and services (if you like) to you.

Most recently, I have been doing a lot of coaching with salespeople who should be better than they are. They usually share these characteristics:

-       they are smart

-       want to learn and get better

-       are attractive as people (men and woman)

-       are motivated to be successful for internal or external reasons

-       are not getting the kind of attention they need because:

* they work alone
* are in too large an organization
* work for a manager who cant give them the time they need
* are thrown into the lion’s cage and told to survive

So why aren’t they doing better:

  1. They can’t see the forest from the trees. They are confused and need some structure. I recently gave a woman I was coaching exact words and flow to use until she didn't need it anymore. She improved dramatically!!
  2. They are thrown into the room with the occasional raw meat, just like I was. And this is much more common. Sink or Swim. They are not alone when being coached
  3. Not given enough time to be successful. Too often I have seen people who could be really good if they were given a little more time but pressures avail. Now one of the traits to be successful is speed, but everyone is not as fast as others. Sales coaching accelerates the process.
  4. Most managers are just bad in this area.  They don't give their people enough attention due to time shortages or they don't know how. They may have no idea of their responsibility in developing people, so they don't. We can teach salespeople and managers.
  5. Wrong Job – even though they have all the attributes described, they just aren’t going to be good salespeople. There are lots of reasons this happens, and lots of way to prevent this but I don't really want to go into them. Think better hiring, use online assessment tools, hire for the job, not in your image, etc., etc. Coaching can help you make a decision if the person is or isnt suited for sales

So can a manager or oganization address all the areas mentioned in this blog. Of course, it is not difficult. But many don't and that is why you need a coach.

*A personal story. I remember my first training at Olivetti when they put me into a room with some manuals and every once in a while opened the door and threw in some raw meat to feed me. It wasn't that bad but it is an appropriate metaphor. My “mentor” would drive me around to client meetings and we would smoke Hawaiian buds (remember it was the 70’s). It wasn't until a person took me under his wing to give me some direction, and along with my immense latent talent J did I become a successful sales person and sales coach. 

Tell me what you think or reach out to me at JLondon@ipgtraining.com

 

Tags: Sales Effectiveness, Coaching, Coaching, Sales Productivity, sales management, sales management

Are You Aligned and Have Agreement for Sales Success

Posted on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

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As many of you know, S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a foundation of success for any individual or organization. I define S.M.A.R.T as:

  • Specific – I will make $100,000
  • Measurable – I will measure every month how much I have made and also measure the activities needed to make the money
  • ALIGNED/AGREED – I am ALIGNED and AGREEMENT with others who are critical to my success
  • Realistic – it is an achievable goal
  • Timed – I will make the $100,000 by the end of 2014

I was with a client this week that understood this and demonstrates the importance of the ALIGNMENT/AGREED step, which is the most difficult and most important.

My client is a very successful high tech company who is #3 in their market, but whose growth has been stagnant for the last 6 quarters. Recently, they dramatically realigned their entire sales organization, from the inside out. Many people’s responsbibilities were changed, or minimized, and they had grave concerns. They were distracted and demotivated.

The people who are in front of the customer and make the most money are the outside people. The people who make the least (they are still well paid) and touch the customer least are the inside sales people. HOWEVER, the key to the outside teams success is the leads the inside team can qualify and generate.

So what did my client and I do? We started with training the inside people and we ALIGNED/GAINED AGREEMENT that there role was critical. My client shared the executive level view and insights with the team, and allowed them to question and challenge them.

They were aligned and had agreement from top to bottom, from executive to salesperson and most of the concern and distraction were removed.

We then were able to develop and train them on the new skills and knowledge they needed to be successful as individuals and as a company.

Moral to the story: spend more time than you are, or think you need to, in order to make sure people understand and agree to (as much as possible) the changes and direction you are taking.

Don’t think if it is said, or just because you say it, will make it happen.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching, Sales Productivity, Sales Process

The 3's of Selling More

Posted on Thu, Jun 19, 2014

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The Rule of 3 according to Wikipedia is: a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. (citation needed).

The reader or audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. From slogans ("Go, fight, win!") to films, many things are structured in threes. Examples include The Three StoogesThree Musketeers and others.

Here are some 3’s for selling:

  1. focus on 3 verticals, applications or a mix of and don't waste your time elsewhere
  2. always try to give 3 benefits or reasons someone should do what you are asking
  3. have a minimum of 3:1 ratio of pipeline to target/quota
  4. 3 isn't a crowd – bring others to big meetings with you
  5. if you have 3 minutes, make a prospecting call or follow up those you have already made
  6. saving 3 minutes a day gives you another hour a week to prospect – imagine 30 minutes a day
  7. meditate for 3 minutes in between appointments or before a big presentation. You will be much clearer and present
  8. count to 3 before handling an objection
  9. take 3 deep breaths and exhale slowly to relax in a tense environment
  10. take 3 email breaks a day so you can do something more productive
  11. don't sit on stool unless it has at least 3 legs
  12. on average, if you have 3 meetings a day (for all stages of a sales process) you will make more money than other salespeople
  13. choose the 3 people (personal, boss, peer) who will hold you accountable for what you said you will do wen you created your S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  14. solutions should consist of at least 3 elements – product benefits, something about your company (history, philosophy, finances, etc) and services
  15. always be at an appt at least 3 minutes early if not 5 or 10 (too early is too eager)
  16. you can give a prospect 3 options to choose from, good- better- best. Either way they buy from you
  17. your company’s or own marketing should consist of 3’s like the example on top
  18. a great team can beat 3 superstars
What other 3's do you have?

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, b2b Sales, Coaching, Sales Productivity

Sales Training: 16 Reasons Coaching is The Best Way of Training

Posted on Fri, Apr 05, 2013

 

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In working with all size companies for the last 19 years, I know the critical role coaching plays in developing sales people and managers and getting the most from them.

Whether this coaching is done as part of a formal sales training process or independently; 1:1 coaching is an incredible tool to improve performance. You can:

  1. give each person what they need  vs. a blend for everyone
  2. offer a person an opportunity to learn from an outside perspective
  3. allow people can voice their opinion which they would not feel comfortable doing otherwise
  4. extend the reach of your management so they can get to other things while their people are being developed
  5. give your best and most senior people get the attention they need so they don't quit
  6. ramp new hires more quickly
  7. have your management team can be coached to improve their skills and all the benefit that come with that
  8. give people specific assignments that are targeted to their specific needs
  9. have sessions be recorded for people to review
  10. give as many or as little sessions as are required by the individual
  11. get a great ROI since the investment is similar to classroom training
  12. provide motivation to people who are in need of a lift
  13. have previous top performers who are lagging reach their potential again
  14. coach in person, via video or web to keep costs down
  15. increase sales in a very short time frame
  16. strategize large deals with expertise not in house.

Let me know if you want to discuss or have questions on coaching for you or your team.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching, Sales Process, Sales Coaching

Salespeople, Week Two of 2013 and More Tips...

Posted on Mon, Jan 07, 2013

 Week Two of 2013  Capture

 

It is the second week of the year, (really the first full week) and it may be your first week back.

Let me go a little bit more in depth with some of the points from last weeks blog, Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2013 -- Another New Year! to help get you started:

Tip #1:

Do I know where my success came from last year?

What did I do to make things happen and be a successful salesperson?

-      did you prospect more

-      were you more disciplined in your approach

-      did you get any sales training that you used well

-      did you work with your partners (if you have any) more effectively

-      did you learn your product so well that you could play it like a violin

-      did you get one big real client and can you do that again this year

-      did you use your resources better than others

-      did you just work harder

Tip #20:

Can you be more organized and/or effective by being more focused and wasting less time in a day?

-      If you can give yourself one more hour a day to sell by being more organized, after holidays, etc. you have 5-6 more weeks of selling time. You just gave yourself an extra month or more to make your quota. Not bad.

-      Here are some questions to ask yourself about wasting time:

  • Do I handle emails well or am I reacting and wasting time
  • Do I qualify requests from customers, prospects and internally regarding when they need something vs. just jumping at the request?
  • Do I delegate and follow up many tasks vs. doing them all myself?
  • Do I have ONE system where I keep notes, to dos, etc?
  • Do I browse the web, Face Book, etc. on unrelated work items during work hours
  • Do I gossip, Twitter, IM too much?
  • Do I qualify appointments as to whether I can do them on the phone vs. in person?
  • Do I use my selling hours to sell and do non-sales tasks at the appropriate time?

Please let me know if you would like to talk or I can help in any way. I wish you the best, healthiest, most fulfilling 2013.

Tags: Objection Handling, Resolutions, Time Management, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Prospecting, Coaching, Sales Productivity, Sales Process, Social Media, technology enabled selling

Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2014 -- Another New Year!

Posted on Wed, Jan 02, 2013

 Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2013 -- Another New Year!

If you haven’t started already, now or even this week is a good time to start planning for 2014. Here are some of the ways to do it and questions to ask yourself:

 

  1. Do I know where my success came from last year? What did I do to make things happen and be a successful salesperson?
  2. Do I know where I want to put my efforts into this year? Are they the same as last year or different?  Have I created smart goals for myself?
  3. Which of my offerings has real advantages that I should take advantage of?
  4. Are there particular vertical markets or segments that I want to focus on?
  5. What people, sales technology and resources will I surround myself with so I can get help when I need it?
  6. What will I:
    1. Continue doing or do more of that is working
    2. Stop doing that is in the way of my success
    3. Start doing that is needed because of market conditions or opportunities
  7. Who at work or home do I need to help me stay disciplined enough to the things that are most important?
  8. What have I been putting off that needs to be done?
  9. Have I targeted the accounts I want to sell?
  10. Do I know the one or two that would really put me over the top?
  11. Am I using social media, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. to keep me in touch with the people and events that are critical to my success?
  12. Am I using free services like Google Alerts to do the same?
  13. What support mechanisms do I have to keep balanced?
  14. What is my quick start program so I have a great quarter and make the rest of the year a “little” easier?
  15. Are my manager and I on the same page so he/she supports me vs. interferes?
  16. Can you tell yourself what you are or are not willing to do so you are happy and successful?
  17. Can you identify what motivates you, or like most about your job so you can spend as much time and do it as often as possible?
  18. If your compensation plan is here, do you know how you will make the most money from it?
  19. Do you know your offering inside and out so you can present it in more ways, with more effect than your competition or co-workers?
  20. Can you be more organized and/or effective by being more focused and wasting less time in a day?
  21. Can you identify the 3 or 4 most important priorities for your success?
  22. Can you create an image for yourself of what short and long term success looks and feels like to keep yourself motivated, positive?

     

    Please let me know if you would like to talk or I can help in any way. I wish you the best, healthiest, most fulfilling 2014.

    Tags: Sales Cycles, Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Sales Effectiveness, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Prospecting, S.M.A.R.T. goals and priorities, Coaching, Sales Productivity, LinkedIn, Sales Process, technology enabled selling, b2bSales

    Salespeople, 19 Tips to Close Larger Deals

    Posted on Tue, Dec 11, 2012


    19 Tips To Close Larger Deals
    1.    Assign an executive sponsor as early as possible.
    2.    Increase Face to Face time.
    3.    If the deal crosses territories or oceans, salespeople must share in the wealth and work with others.
    4.    Get contracts done and issues resolved ahead of time. Use contract as part of close.
    5.    Know their decision process and the people involved so you don't have to chase or guess.
    6.    If you must, use discounting wisely. Keep something in your back pocket.
    7.    Use your management and pre/post sales support team early and often.
    8.    Know your negotiation strategy so the deal doesn't get delayed.
    9.    Start where you are stronger. Go to your strengths to win more.
    10.  Don't chase bad business just because it is big.
    11.  Bigger deals take longer. Don’t get distracted with the little stuff.
    12.  Discuss and strategize your deals with another person or persons.
           They might be sitting right next to you, be experiencing the same thing and have great insights.
    13.  Check LinkedIn, Facebook, Phinkit or any source for connections.
           These connections might be able to coach you or influence the buyer.
    14.   Develop a coach ASAP if it is a big deal.
    15.   If you are smaller than your competitors, show your depth by having more people involved in the deal.
    16.   Create a no lose policy for certain strategic key accounts.
    17.   If you are in a very advantageous position, push the close ASAP.
           The longer the deal goes on, the more bad things can happen.
    18.   Resources and frequency on client interaction needs to increase.
    19.   If it is very competitive have a tie breaker to help the customer decide in your favor.

    If you have more tips you have used from deals you have closed or your team has closed, please do share your thoughts.


     

     

    Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Coaching, Sales Productivity, Negotiations, Sales Process, sales management, Presenting

    Run the Play, Follow the Steps and Please Follow the Sales Process

    Posted on Thu, Aug 09, 2012

    Please Follow the Sales Process

     

    I think the most profound questions one can ask greater than what is the meaning of life, why is there air (for you Cosby fans) and is there life on other planets is; why people won’t do what they are asked to do when it will benefit them the most?

    I work with a lot of companies and their sales people and they are unable or unwilling to follow the sales steps that have been laid out for them. They complicate their lives by reinventing the wheel every time they are with a prospect. Instead of just doing what they were taught, mastering it and putting their spin on it, they only spin without mastering and not using the foundation that they have been given.

    Does anybody have the answer to this?  It baffles me.  And even more baffling is why sales management and executives allow this to happen.  It would be like a car manufacturer allowing the people on the line to make the car anyway they want without following the process. That is a car company that is going out of business.

    So here is why I think this happens:

    •  people are afraid or uncomfortable with change. We all do what we know best, whether it is good for us or not (just ask my therapist)
    •  we think that process is bad and will get in the way of productivity – WRONG
    •  we think we need to be more flexible because our environment is – it will give you the structure to be more flexible
    • we feel it will inhibit our creativity – see above
    • we are too busy to pay attention to the detail necessary to make the change – the busier you are the more you need to follow the process
    • as sales leaders we are happy with the results from giving people the process and tools they need

    From the sales training perspective, we are responsible to provide the right program, with the right level and type of reinforcement so people can and will embrace the program more easily.

    Which steps and plays do you need to start following?  What reinforcement methods have worked best for you?

    Click me

    Tags: Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching, Sales Process

    Hidden Objections - What Lurks Beneath the Surface

    Posted on Mon, Jul 30, 2012

     Hidden Objections: What Leaks Beneath the Surface

    What lurks beneath the surface is most dangerous to a salesperson. That which we are not told or cannot see is why we lose deals.

    Why do these exist?

    •     people have their own agenda and it may not be different than yours
    •     there may be bad chemistry
    •     prospects may be wary of and suspicious of salespeople
    •     they are afraid of confrontation
    •     they want to keep their cards close to their vest
    •     they want to see which way the wind blows before they say anything
    •     they may have pre-conceived notions or ideas or desires before  you even meet
    •     you may do something when you meet with them that turns them off (imagine that)

    So how do you reveal that which is hidden and you cannot see:

    •     ask more questions to more people
    •     trust your instincts and address the “something is wrong or not going right”
    •     ask in the appropriate way “I get the sense that this isn’t going as well as either of  us would like. Can you tell me why?
    •     prepare more for your meetings and include “what might be the hidden objections, concerns and issues”
    •    don't try to deal with it factually or with information. IT IS AN EMOTIONAL ISSUE. Learn to use analogies or stories to soften people so they are more trusting and comfortable to talk.
    •    talk less and check in more often to make sure you are doing OK
    •    BE MORE EMPATHETIC. If you are a man, just remember what your wife or girlfriend tells you about being more open and emotional. If you are a woman or a sensitive man, this is less difficult but you might need to bring this to the foreground.

    What questions could you ask?

    •     what the hell is going on here – only kidding
    •     what is the worst most uncomfortable feeling you have at this point
    •     what are the areas or items that you feel least comfortable with or need to be addressed
    •     summarize what you have heard, add insights to what you heard and ask if you are on track. People like knowing you are listening
    •     use words like concerns, worries, fears (not with High D’s since they fear nothing :)
    •     in a group ask who in this room is least comfortable, skeptical (in a fun non threatening way) and has questions they would like to ask or raise (this is a tough one)
    •     if you have a coach, have them ask the team some of the unasked or simmering questions or objections

    Ask me questions and I will answer them.

    Tags: Objection Handling, Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching

    Harvard Business Review – The Secret to Smarter Sales

    Posted on Mon, Jul 23, 2012

     Secret to Smarter Sales or Don't Throw The Baby out With the Bath Water

     Harvard Business Review *– The Secret to Smarter Sales or “Don't Throw The Baby out With the Bath Water”

     HBR’s latest issue “The Secret to Smarter Sales” is interesting and stimulating (excitement and horror) in the positions it takes about selling. In many ways it turns selling dogma upside down and inside out. However, with careful thought, there are many ways you can take advantage of these insights without too much disrupton.

    I would like to comment on what I see as the key areas of this article:

    Breakthrough Ideas and Comments:

    1.      The idea that no one person embodies the characteristics of a “coach” is excellent.

    2.      Skeptics were the best category of person to sell to. However, is your organization set up to be patient? Does this imply a slower sales cycle while increasing size and win %? Does that matter?

    3.      People pushing back and dissecting your offer as a buying sign or sign of interest is an excellent point to be aware of and not turned off by.

    4.      People are also more likely to go with the idea or offer that has the least to be skeptical about. In other words, the areas they are skeptical about can't be those that are most critical to their internal buying criteria or perspective.

    A Story: I am involved in a sale where I raised the idea that putting a band-aid on a problem is fine as long as they knew it wasn't the real solution, which was to reorganize their entire sales structure. The SVP of Sales misinterpreted this as me not wanting to help him with the band-aid because I was only interested in the bigger issue (which was too much for him to tackle). His HR person, my coach, the person who introduced me into the opportunity, realized that I was saying we can start at prospecting and build from there. He didn't. He also wanted somebody with more experience in his industry vs. seeing the benefit of bringing in somebody less conditioned and with new ideas. She got it. I don't think he did. He was also uncomfortable with, or threatened with my directness. She wasn't. We will see what happens?

    5.     Selling something that is disruptive, where there is no set pattern to buy, or budget allotted connotes that you need to sell to someone with the ability to move things and make things happen along with the characteristic described. It would also imply they need to be in power, be part of the circle of influence or unafraid to exert themselves overtly or subtly.

    Not Necessarily New but Noteworthy:

    6.      The fact that “60%” is already done and researched so people need to be more of a subject matter expert with insight and advice is an excellent point. It is not necessarily new but new enough to emphasize and be aware of.

    7.      There is an old saying “there is margin in mystery” meaning people will pay more for things they don't know or have the resources for. Putting this into a sales approach of consciously finding companies who are in that position is a good one.

    8.      If you want your business to grow, sell to growing businesses is something I first heard from Len D’Innocenzo and Jack Cullen over 18 years ago. It is teeming with sales opportunities.

    Questions (not saying I have the answer but I am curious):

    9.      It seems this information is most relevant for people selling larger enterprise type services with an inherent longer sales cycle. Is it as relevant when selling something smaller into smaller organizations?

    10.  Not that it has to, but does this approach shorten sales cycles?

    11.  Can you do what the article says within the structure of a traditional sales process or do you need to completely blow up the process. For example, can you learn to probe and look for the characteristics described in the article? (see table below. Solution Selling Insight Selling comparison is part of the HBR article referenced in the title of this blog).

    HBRImageCapture

     

     

    Tactics and Other Thoughts:

    12.  You still need to penetrate the account to get to the right person and you still need a, or several people to coach you throughout the process

    13.  Begin asking questions and put them into your S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue:

      • is there precedence for this type of situation that can be followed or used as a guideline
      • how have decisions of this nature been made in the past
      • who in your organization has the ability to or has already done this
      • who are the skeptics, teachers and go-getters in the organization (don't use these words of course).

        14.  In terms of prioritizing your opportunities, add the criteria outlined in the article to your existing and new opportunities to decide how real and attractive the opportunity is. Use your coach or coaches to get the information you don't know. Ask these questions about:

          • how they make decisions, not just the process but do they push back
          • how do they handle a contrary opinion
          • are they open to debate
          • where do they gather their information, etc.

            15. You still need to be able to put a solution together that has relevance to the client. To say that solution selling is dead is a misnomer. Your insights are your solutions.

            16. Regardless of the best style to sell to, they still need to to be able to drive people and an organization. There needs to be a certain level of assertiveness and hopefully power. In DiSC talk they have some D (dominant) or i (influential) in them.

            17. You still need to be a very skilled salesperson to navigate the sale. In fact, you probably can't get to this level of sophistication until you have.

            What are your thoughts? Let me know by commenting or emailing or calling.

            * Harvard Business Review, July-August 2012

            Tags: Sales Cycles, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Structure, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Coaching